Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Raley’s strikers left bitter memory

EDITOR: Raley’s is my kind of store.

My husband and I prefer to shop there because Raley’s thinks like a customer, meaning: Raley’s values us. My first real job was working for a family owned grocery chain, Big Bear, working part time as I was also going to college.

During the summers, the Brown family invited the employees to their Big Bear Farm for our company picnic; we were valued and in return we valued our customers. We were a non-union store and our only competition was Kroger’s, who was union. I made a whopping $5 an hour, which was pretty good wage back in 1974.

We happened to shop at Raley’s on the first day of the strike. I was shaken, dismayed and furious at the heckling and the harassment directed at customers coming into the store. I recognized several of the striking Raley’s employees and as if a switch turned on, witnessing these individuals being so unkind, directing their pent-up frustration, telling Raley’s customers to shop elsewhere. As in a previous letter, I can’t fathom as to the point of directing their misgivings at the customers, as if the customer was going to resolve the strike, when in fact, when you frighten a customer as I had briefly witnessed, they may never come back.

So, it was my turn to make it from my car, pass the strikers and into Raley’s to shop. My husband being the Marine, we of course talk about a strategy, how to get from our car, pass the chanting strikers, into the store: mission accomplished.

My husband as well as many others gave their lives so we can have the freedoms we all enjoy today, especially the right to strike. We have so much to be grateful for, even if it’s not something we agree with, even if it has a negative impact, those are rights that are ours to do what we may.

As I braced myself, my head up, my friendly outgoing smile, I walked into the store just liked I had done many times before. But even as prepared as I was, I was frowning inside myself because of the heckling I received. Although milder in comparison, because I chose to look directly at them and I did so compassionately.

I spoke to them, so everyone would hear: “I chose to shop at Raley’s because if I do not walk in to spend my money at your store, those who are working inside the store and you all out here striking may not have jobs. Customers like me will not have a choice when it comes to shop at an excellent quality family owned grocery store, if they go out of business.”

In closing, as a customer of course I am very concerned as to fairness, but as a customer this is not my fight, and it’s not ethical to harass customers. You can tell us, you can show as to how you are resolving your issue, and just remember, your union representatives are still getting paid as you are not. If Raley’s does not have commitment from its employees, grocery stores like Raley’s will likely disappear as fierce, bigger competition comes to town with non-union stores.

A final word to Raley’s: you need to be more on the cutting edge offering a uniqueness that tells a customer why they want to shop in your family owned grocery stores. I want to spend my money here at your store and not have to drive down the hill to shop.

One more thing, my husband and I needed to stop in the store this last Sunday, Veterans Day, and it was shameful to see a striking employee walk right in front of a customer, blocking their entrance into the store.

SHOSHANA HENDERSON
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 19 comments

  • DarrinNovember 15, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    I want to spend my money here at your store and not have to drive down the hill to shop.

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  • hair on fireNovember 26, 2012 - 4:09 am

    Dear Shoshana Henderson, you sound like a *rick, however compassionate. "As I braced myself, my head up, my friendly outgoing smile, I walked into the store just liked I had done many times before. But even as prepared as I was, I was frowning inside myself because of the heckling I received. Although milder in comparison, because I chose to look directly at them and I did so compassionately."

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  • cookie65November 26, 2012 - 5:30 am

    The term "union thug" has a meaning and it is not undeserved. You, the customer are the reason they have a job and they were just demonstrating their appreciation. There is a detatchment from reality among people who believe they are owed something. It is similar to how theives justify stealing. By the way, I am not talking about the thousands of hard working employees at Raley's, I am talking about the union thugs who would slit your tires for not summiting to them. The same people who would key your car because of your "socialism is theft" bumper sticker.

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  • take a breath and move onNovember 26, 2012 - 7:06 am

    Thank you Ms. Henderson for your committment to shop locally. Thanks to your husband for his service to our country. This issue is over. Time to take a breath and move on with our lives. Raleys and thier dedicated employees will both survive this down turn in the economy as we all will by working together.

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  • worriedNovember 26, 2012 - 7:22 am

    Back in January Shoshana said in this paper "I am seriously considering if this isn’t addressed at the state level to stop taking my medications."

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  • John Hamilton a Raley's LOYAL shoperNovember 26, 2012 - 9:32 am

    Well it seems that Raley's must have given too much because the bakery has gotten even more skimpy on the filling of the danishes, and other items have seem to shrunk since the strike ended. Guess the customers will be paying!

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  • Elsamae HamiltonNovember 26, 2012 - 9:37 am

    Shoshana & John is cusins - tho knot kissin - an he aleighs stiks up 4 Soshana.

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  • jon schroderNovember 26, 2012 - 10:41 am

    As long as there are unions the issue will not be over. I have carefully checked out various places where i aquire the goods and services i need, which isn`t all that much. I have eliminated and replaced any of the organizations that are associated with a union. Sort of limits me, but, i will in no way support unions, nor shop at union stores. Sorry Raleys, I suppose its only a matter of time before you too are put out of business by the union. I don`t feel sorry for any of those employees.

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  • KarenNovember 26, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Well, Jon Schroder, I suppose you wouldn't mind then, working someplace like Bangledesh, where there are no worker codes and laws like the ones our unions have fought so hard to develop. Work 40 hours per week? 8 hours per day? Make minimum wage? Can you get out of the building if there is a fire? Really, if you dislike unions so much, then you shouldn't mind bringing back the concept of slave labor to this country.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 26, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    Karen, your timeline is a bit in error, and your "facts" fail the test of history. . . unions did not lead Ford to the 40 hr. week and leading wages for his emplyeesLINK - May 1, 1926 - Ford factory workers get 40-hour week

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  • CatherineNovember 26, 2012 - 11:19 pm

    Phil, your "facts" fail the test of history. Karen wasn't referring to Ford. Read more on the trade union movements in the 60+ years prior.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 26, 2012 - 11:38 pm

    Catherine, my tangential visit to Ford was no more a “miss” that Karen’s silly trip to Bangladesh. Labor union contributions to humane, safe and productive work environments are past accomplishments. Presently labor union contribution to economic advancement is measured in the negative. Ford showed the future when he showed that it was in the entrepreneur’s interest to have a healthy, happy, productive workforce. Today unions launder money to liberal politicians. The money enters a virtuous loop - Union to politician to union. May the circle be unbroken bye and bye Lord bye and bye.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 26, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    PS - Phil's conjecture: A healthy ecology of labor requires just enough union activity to frighten the bastards and just enough "right to work" states to frighten the unions.

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  • CatherineNovember 27, 2012 - 12:00 am

    Phil, You're entitled to your opinion, but I find unions useful to those who would, by-and-by, be unfairly paid by their employers. Like those folks at Walmart who need foodstamps to get by, while the Walton family grows richer (they're big advocates of solar, BTW, but still, they're lousy to their employees). So, shockingly, our worldviews are a mismatch, and you can sweetly dream of the female Bill McKinney. Until tomorrow, "Bye."

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 27, 2012 - 6:52 am

    DAMN! Disillusionment is so painful. And to have disillusionment served with a side of humiliation. Sonofab**** this is just awful! . . . . thinking . . . . hmmm . . . . What if “fairness” is an illusion . . . . and what if the pursuit of an illusion leads to catastrophe . . . . ANSWER: Bush’s fault

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  • Ken SteersNovember 27, 2012 - 7:24 am

    Is it just WalMart, or do you hate the hell out of Target, Kmart and the Piggly Wiggly Also?

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  • CatherineNovember 27, 2012 - 11:38 am

    Don't know about PW, but in general, I don't give my money to big box stores. Not sure why anyone who values a rural lifestyle would.

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  • CatherineNovember 27, 2012 - 11:44 am

    Phil... Laughing! Ken... Here's a free throw for you: But I can't keep my husband out of Home Depot.

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  • jon schroderNovember 27, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    I`m not an american citizen, but i believe it was President Lincoln not unions, who saved americans from slave labor.

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